South Africans can now access these 5 bucket list experiences on the continent easier than ever
CAPE TOWN – Historically, intra-Africa travel has held a reputation for being disproportionately expensive compared to transcontinental flights. Yet, this narrative is being redefined, with FlySafair’s decision to connect the dots between Harare, Livingstone, Victoria Falls, and Maputo. And for South African travellers, this expansion isn’t just a convenience; it’s an open invitation to experiences that have been at our doorstep, yet often overlooked.
Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer FlySafair, says the new low-cost offering in the region should help bring intra-African flight prices down. He says: “The reality is that any additional capacity to a route will mean a shift of the supply curve outward resulting in a lower price-point and more seats being sold. The big question is how steep that demand curve is. We need to understand how many more customers we will be able to attract with the lower price points and if there will be enough to actually sustain the operations and at reasonable price points. But affordable, on-time, and hassle free is our formula and we’ll want to apply it here too.”
FlySafair’s first routes, connecting Johannesburg with Harare and Livingstone, will start on 2 October 2023. All four routes are currently bookable. This move comes just in time for the peak holiday season, enabling South Africans to explore the African continent with greater ease for end of year holidays.
5 Bucket list experiences to tick off in Southern Africa
Chobe’s Ultimate River Safari Adventure
Chobe National Park, renowned for its elephant populations, offers a raw, untamed perspective of Africa. Why not take in the majesty of the bush from a new perspective, such as on a river cruise onboard a comfortable houseboat? You’ll drift along one of Africa’s best-known rivers – the mighty Chobe – while admiring the wildlife on the riverbanks as the animals stop to savour a drink – right in front of you. The wildlife sightings and photo opportunities – from the water – are unparalleled.
According to Kate Powell, General manager: Sales and Marketing for the Zambezi Queen Collection, Africa’s leading river cruise company: “The Zambezi Queen Collection offers two unique river safaris to travellers looking for a fresh take on an African safari. Both gliding along the Chobe River, our Zambezi Queen is a larger floating hotel, while our Chobe Princess houseboats are smaller and available for exclusive use hire, offering a more intimate and private experience ideal for families and small groups.”
A Chobe river safari is also ideally combinable with the Okavango Delta. Its cyclical flooding patterns create a haven for an array of wildlife. During its peak, the delta becomes an intricate network of islands, channels, and lagoons – making it an optimal time for exploration. Navigating the Okavango on a traditional mokoro offers an almost meditative experience as you glide silently among water lilies and papyrus.
Where to stay: The Zambezi Queen or Chobe Princess houseboats.
Tiger fishing in the Heart of Chobe
The perfect balance of adrenaline and patience is found in tiger fishing, especially between April and August in the Chobe region. Here, the waters teem with the fierce African tigerfish, making it one of the best places in Africa to challenge the mighty tiger fish.
Where to Stay: Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, on Namibia’s secluded Impalila Island, offers the dual experience of a serene getaway and an optimal fishing locale. It’s a popular spot for families and fishing groups looking to get away from it all and enjoy all the fishing and adventure that the Chobe has to offer.
Experience the Sights and Sounds of Victoria Falls
Locally referred to as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ or ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, Victoria Falls isn’t just about the visual spectacle but also the auditory experience of nature’s raw power. Whether you want to just walk the park and admire the Falls, enjoy sunset cruises or game viewing, Victoria Falls makes for a charming southern African stay.
Where to Stay: The Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel situates its guests in the lap of luxury while ensuring they’re a stone’s throw away from this natural marvel. The hotel was the first luxury boutique hotel in the Falls area too, and its position on the Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve offers incredible wildlife views with opportunities for game drives and walking safaris.
Other great picks are Thorntree River Lodge or Royal Chundu, strategically located near Victoria Falls, offer prime accessibility to Chobe and a panoramic view of the riverfront.
Indulge in a Maputo Food Tour in Mozambique
Mozambique’s long coastline and rich cultural history have given birth to a cuisine that’s both diverse and singular in its flavours. The essence of this cuisine can be truly captured in Maputo, the nation’s capital.
Consider embarking on food tours in Maputo. It’s not merely about tasting, but also delving into the culinary traditions. With the introduction of the new FlySafair route, there’s hope that more travellers will be drawn to explore this lesser-known aspect of Mozambican culture.
Natalie Tenzer-Silva, Director of Dana Tours, a leading tour operator in Mozambique, which runs a bestselling Maputo food tour said, “The introduction of a low-cost carrier into Maputo is fantastic news. Since the demise of 1Time Airlines, we have been beholden to the exorbitant costs of flights on Airlink and LAM. With the start of Flysafair coming in at R3,400 for a return flight, this signifies an almost 50% reduction in airfares, and we are hoping to attract much of the leisure market. Maputo is a 45-minute flight away from Gauteng, and we hope to welcome more visitors from there.
Where to stay:
- The Southern Sun, City Lodge, Cardoso or Radisson Blu in Maputo
- Machangulo Beach Lodge
- San Martinho Beach Club in Bilene
Immersive Walking Safaris in the Lower Zambezi
Walking safaris bring forth an earthy, grounded experience that traditional game drive safaris often miss. The Lower Zambezi, with its dense fauna and lush flora, proves to be an ideal backdrop for such safaris.
Where to Stay: Lolebezi Safari Lodge, renowned for its sustainable architecture and eco-friendly ethos, places guests at the heart of nature and offers incredible walking safaris. Their strict policy of admitting only those over 16 for walking safaris ensures the safety and serenity of the experience.
With more routes opening up into Africa, it’s a step towards rendering the hidden gems of Africa more accessible to the world.